All Posts by Kristen Duever

About the Author

Learn how to get out of your career rut.
Apr 14

Are You Smart But Stuck? How to Listen To Your Heart & Move Forward.

By Kristen Duever | Find A Career That Fits

Smart but Stuck: How to Listen to your Heart and Move Forward


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer, Careers by Design

Have you ever felt stuck in your career?

Maybe you’re highly skilled in your field. Maybe your co-workers are always asking you for advice or to check their work.

And yet, it just feels like you have stopped growing.
If you fall into the “smart but stuck” category, it can be especially tricky because from an outsider’s point of view everything looks fine. After all, no one likes a complainer, right?

Perhaps you have already identified a number of options for moving forward. Or perhaps it feels like there are no options at all.

If you are feeling stuck, you are probably wondering what to do next? 

We know that too much pressure on the job is a bad thing.

It can be easy to forget however, that not enough pressure is a bad thing too. In nature, a butterfly needs to struggle to emerge from its cocoon. A chick needs to struggle to emerge from the egg.

Without the struggle they remain weak and unable to survive. And without a way to grow in our own careers, we can quickly become bored and dissatisfied.

You need to find a way to get unstuck and move forward.

The bad news is that almost everyone gets stuck at some point along their career path. The good news is that you don’t have to stay stuck

Where to turn when you’re feeling stuck?

If you are finding that you are no longer growing in your career, it can be easy to place the blame on your employer. It can be easy to look at management and point to the fact that they are not providing the training you need to advance. It's easy to say that they are not recognizing your potential.

But the fact is that in an age of cost-consciousness and cut-backs, many employers simply cannot provide professional development like they used to.

And if you are only looking to management to get you unstuck, you are overlooking the one person that has the most power to help you overcome your problem – yourself.

Nowadays, more than ever, it's up to you to direct your own career path and development!

Listen to your heart and get unstuck.

Listening to your heart sounds like it should be easy to do.

But for many people it's challenging – at least in the beginning.

It may even feel foreign. We simply haven’t been taught how to seek out our own wisdom.

But with a little practice and perhaps some assistance, it's a habit that anyone can build - one that can help you with any dilemma you might face, professionally or personally.  At Careers by Design, we've been helping our clients with this approach for more than 13 years.  

It starts with being silent and getting comfortable with the uncertainty that you face.

Once you are able to quiet the world around you, the options become clearer and you’ll be able to find more clarity and make a decision with a focused mind.

How Kevin and Leslie got unstuck

Let’s take a look at how two Careers by Design clients managed to get themselves unstuck.

Kevin had been working at his position for several months but was struggling with confidence. He didn’t truly believe in his ability to do his job. And this made him unhappy.

A career coach introduced him to HeartMath which helped him learn to manage his emotions. By learning to listen to his heart Kevin grew more optimistic.

He started receiving more praise and work – and he was able to believe it.

Kevin found that he didn’t need to leave his job to get unstuck. He simply needed to listen his heart to find his confidence and happiness.
Leslie’s story is somewhat different. She had been working in the public sector for 10 years and was feeling frustrated and unhappy. Stress and anxiety from both her job and her personal life was taking its toll.

Although she already had a meditation practice, her career coach introduced her to HeartMath. This made all the difference.

It helped her to reduce her stress and feel confident about the future

It has also given her the courage to take the necessary steps for a career transition.

She is putting herself out there through networking and is now truly open to new opportunities that may come her way.

What solutions will your heart reveal?

The way to get unstuck is going to vary from person to person and from circumstance to circumstance.

Perhaps you need to ask for training or for mentorship. Or maybe you need to take control and get the training for yourself. Or, that you need to do more networking or get involved in a professional organization. It could even be that i's time for a career transition to something different.

Look within, quiet your mind, and figure out where you would like to be in the next three to five years. Now what steps do you need to get there?

Even if you want to remain in the same job, you will still need to grow.

Determine how you can ensure that you continue to grow.

If you feel stuck in your career, there is help available.

A Careers by Design coach can show the you techniques you need to listen to your heart and make the necessary changes

Call us today at 1-888-977-6284 or learn more about our unique approach.

Want to Get Started?

It's time for your Turning Point.

Give us just one hour & we'll get you started on the path to career happiness.

5 ways to find your passion in 2018
Jan 08

Five Ways to Find Your Passion in 2018

By Kristen Duever | Find A Career That Fits

Five Ways To Find Your Passion in 2018


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer, Careers by Design

When you go to work, do you feel like you are just going through the motions?

Maybe your work hasn’t excited you in years.

Perhaps you’re not really passionate about what you do, but you’ve got to earn a paycheque and support your family.

Maybe it even feels like you’re too old, or it’s too late to find your passion.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t jump out of bed in the morning, excited and eager to go to your job and do work that you find meaningful. In fact, according to some studies, more than 80% of workers dislike their jobs. How sad!

But what if you could find your passion? How would that change your life? What if we lived in a world where 80% of people loved their careers? How would that change the world we live in and how we relate to one another? 

The good news is that it is not too late. You can still look within and find the things that excite you – and take action.

If you’re ready to truly explore what motivates you and are ready to take the next step, here are five things you can do to help you find your passion.

1. Investigate the passions that have always been there.

The movie The Legend of Baggar Vance, does a great job of illustrating how we naturally find passions as children but somehow forget them as adults.

In the movie, a mystical caddy by the name of Baggar Vance helps a down on his luck golfer. In one scene Baggar says, “Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Something we were born with. Something that can’t be taught to you or learned. Something to be remembered.”

Think back to what excited you when you were young?.

Was it building things? Writing stories? Playing Monopoly? Rallying your friends to go on some adventure?

More often than not, our earliest fond memories are great clues as to what excites us. It may sound like a cliché but being a detective here can really generate good ideas about who you really are and what your purpose might be.

It’s important to get that list of ideas started and then continue with the other ideas here to expand on them.

2. Get a coach or mentor.

The words “find your passion” sound like common sense advice and there is a perception that it should be easy. But this isn’t always the case. The prospect of leaving a well-paying, “secure” job to follow you dreams can be scary. Others might say you’re crazy. You might even feel crazy.

A good career coach or business mentor however, will help you weather the storm of self-doubt and criticism. They can help you brainstorm and discover what truly motivates you. They can push you to do things you might not be able to do on your own. They can help you achieve the right mindset and give you strategies to help you reach your goals.

Just remember that if it was easy, you (along with the 80% of folks who aren’t happy at their jobs) would have done this already!

3. Surround yourself with passionate people.

It is hard to be passionate about anything when you are surrounded by others who have given up on their dreams.

Entrepreneur and author, Jim Rohn said that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are you spending time with the right people?

You can start by making a list of people in your life who are truly passionate. If you don’t have people like this, seek them out by joining a networking or mastermind group. Even studying famous passionate people and reading their biographies can help to inspire you.

As you spend time with passionate people, it will become easier to find your own passions. Why is this?

People who genuinely have passion about what they do love telling people about it. This can be very helpful to learn clues about how they got there and how they changed their situation. When you’re uncertain about your next steps, allow yourself to be inspired and really listen to those you admire. In this way, your subconscious will have the tools it needs to do it’s work and generate ideas and possibilities for your own situation.

4. Take action.

Maybe you’ve got an inkling about what your passions are but haven’t quite figured out how to turn them into a career. Don’t let that stop you!

Start by exploring your interests in your spare time. Read. Take a class. Volunteer. Connect with other people who are already doing what you think you want to do.

The old adage is very true in that you’ll never change your situation if you don’t take steps to do so. Taking a small step before you have all the answers will help you overcome the fear of following your heart.

5. Don't give up! Persist, persist, persist.

If you’ve been stuck in a rut for any length of time, finding your passion may not come as easily as you might like. You might think your passion lies in one direction only to try it and hear that little voice inside you that says, “No. This isn’t it.” And that’s ok. Try something else.
You may find that over time, a passion fades and a new one emerges. That’s ok too. Take the time to play with and explore possibilities. You may have many passions over your lifetime.

Make no mistake, finding your passions isn’t always easy. But if put in the time and effort to find a career that is truly fulfilling, it will be worth it.

Contact a Careers by Design coach and let them help you gather your courage and fulfill your potential.

Want to Get Started?

It's time for your Turning Point.

Give us just one hour & we'll get you started on the path to career happiness.

How to build courage for your next career move
Nov 20

How To Build Courage For Your Next Career Move

By Kristen Duever | Find A Career That Fits



by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer, Careers by Design

If you are frustrated with your job or angry with all the office politics that go on at work, then the decision to make a career transition can make a lot of sense to you and everyone around you.

But what if you have a relatively good job? What if you have decent job security, make a reasonable paycheck and like the people you work with… but feel in your heart that you desire something else?

Well-meaning friends and family might try to tell you you’re crazy for even thinking about leaving.

You may struggle with insecurities about failure or be afraid of disappointing others. Perhaps you are beating yourself up for being ungrateful. After all, you’re lucky to have a good job in this economy – right? Besides, the job you’re in feels cozy… safe.

You need to move past this feeling.

There is nothing safe about staying in a job that no longer fits.

There is nothing cozy about continuing down a career path that is limiting your potential.

There is nothing ungrateful about following your heart

You can still feel thankful for all the people and experiences that have made you who you are and be ready to move on.

Courage to face the unknown is essential to taking the next step in your career.

So what is holding you back?

Is it that you don’t know how to take the first step – or what the first step even is? Do you feel like there are no good options or too many options to choose from? Do you feel frozen?

Here’s some good news.

The job that you desire in your heart is out there – even if you’re not entirely sure what that job is yet.

There is no guarantee that it will be easy though.

You will need to harness your courage. You may need to get some guidance from a coach or mentor to help you ride the roller coaster of emotions.

It can also help to look to role models as well.

Many highly successful people have become the people they were meant to be because they had the strength and courage to change their careers.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the people who were once in a situation very similar to yours.

Deepak Chopra – Internationally famous doctor

Originally, this world renowned doctor had planned to have a career in research rather than working directly with patients. When he got kicked out of his university research lab for losing his temper however, he ended up having to work in an emergency room in Boston.

This move changed his life.

He found that he loved working with patients and has since become one of alternative medicine’s leading advocates.

Maynard Webb – Yahoo! chairman

As a student, Webb had no idea that he would someday be head of one of the world’s top internet companies. He was studying criminal justice on this path to someday becoming a lawyer or police detective. This field of study led him to an internship where he worked as a security guard for IBM.

Webb became fascinated with technology and began climbing the corporate ladder over the course of the next 11 years before he moved to Yahoo!

Suze Orman – Personal finance Guru

As a young college grad, Orman had a job working in a bakery. Her dream was to save up enough money to one day open a neighbourhood hot tub café. In an effort to help her achieve this goal, a generous patron left her a $50,000 tip.


Knowing nothing about finance however, Orman made some poor investment decisions and eventually her $50,000 dwindled to nothing.

Although it was a tough lesson, the experience inspired Orman to learn more about the financial world which she discovered she was really interested in. She earned back here $50,000 and much more.

She became a broker and found that she also had a deep passion for helping others with their money. The rest, as they say, is history.

So what is the lesson here?

Your goals and desires may change, but whatever they are, you need to keep moving toward them.

Life for Chopra, Webb and Orman could have turned out very differently had they not had the courage to pursue their dreams.

Had Chopra not been open to working with patients; or had Webb ignored his burgeoning interest in technology; or had Orman been afraid to pursue finance after her bad experience, we likely wouldn’t know who they are today.

They might still have had good careers. But they might not have had great careers.

They might not have filled their potential.

If you are ready to take the next step in your own career journey, you don’t have to do it alone.

Contact a Careers by Design coach and let them help you gather your courage and fulfill your potential.

Personal Branding and Your Resume
Nov 06

Bring Your Personal Brand Into Your Resume

By Kristen Duever | Land the Right Job



by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer, Careers by Design

Do you have a no-name resume?

I mean, of course you have your name on your resume … but does it look a little too generic?

Does it look like you just found a resume template online somewhere and filled in the blanks? If it does, then it is time for an upgrade!

It's time to infuse your resume with your personal brand

Depending on your age, you may have been taught that there is one way (or two or three ways) to write a resume. It must be a maximum of two pages. And it should not contain any “funny stuff” like cutesy fonts, graphics or overly casual language. In general, these are still pretty good guidelines – but they are not hard and fast rules anymore.

Your personal brand is more important to your job search than ever and it’s time to let it shine through in your resume.

Here's why...

Brands convey focus. 

Whether we are looking at company brands or personal ones, the great ones all have something in common.

Brands have a clear focus and that focus helps to direct the decisions of that business… or person.

Coca Cola for example is an iconic brand that consistently promotes its message of being an uplifting product that brings people together. Apple relentlessly focusses on product design developing beautiful and easy to use devices that have customers lining up outside electronics stores the night before their release. Richard Branson’s Virgin company is known for being a cheeky brand that pushes boundaries in innovation and marketing while reinventing the relationship between company, employee and customer.

What does your personal brand convey?

Personal brands have always existed in some form, but today with the internet and social media, they are easier to build – and more important - than ever.

If you think you don’t have a personal brand, you are wrong.

Everyone has a personal brand, but unless you spend time to develop it, it may not be a very good one.

How do you build a personal brand?

Your personal brand begins to develop when you look within to discover your true purpose.

Are you – like Coca Cola - on this earth to bring joy?

Are you – like Apple – here to design and develop products that make people’s lives easier and better?

Are you – like Virgin – here to challenge the status quo?

Listening to your heart on this matter can, not only help to shape your resume, but it can help to shape your career path and entire future as well.

Now that you have this insight, it is time to dig even deeper to further build your brand. What sets you apart from others? What tone of voice will you use? Would it be beneficial for you to have a personal logo made? A website? A blog? Professional social media accounts?

Incorporating your personal brand into your resume.

There are a variety of techniques that you can use to infuse your resume with your personal brand. To some extent, what you do is going to depend on the type of job you are applying for.

Employers in the creative space, for example, may be more likely to enjoy creative resumes.

Here are a few tips for bringing your personal brand to your resume:

•  Create a personal branding statement to place near the top of your resume.

Let the hiring manager know exactly what you stand for and what you have to bring to the table.

•   List your accolades in your own voice.

You probably already know you need to list your accomplishments on your resume – but try doing so with your own voice by incorporating language or themes from your personal branding statement.

•    Be bold in your layout.

The general wisdom for resumes is to go with your standard 12 point Times New Roman or Ariel font in black and for some job applications that may still be a good idea. If however, you feel it would be to your benefit to highlight something in a colour, use bold, italics or underline then go ahead and do it! Just be sure to keep it tasteful.

Get started on your personally branded resume today

If you agree that your resume needs an upgrade and if you agree that you need to more strongly incorporate your personal brand, then Careers by Design’s resume service can help.

Brands like Coca Cola, Apple and Virgin did not get where they are today through the efforts of one person. They all had great teams.

The Careers by Design team can help you to develop your personal and give your resume a boost, so give us a call today or click on the Learn More button below.

Make your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd!

  • Let Nadia, our Harvard-trained writer, bring her 12 year experience and marketing-savvy to your resume.
  • Fast 3 business day turnaround.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Gratitude at work
Oct 09

5 Things To Be Thankful For At Work

By Kristen Duever | Be Happy At Work


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

This is the time of year when many Canadians are reflecting on things that they are thankful for.

Most of us would put things such as family, friends and health at the top of our lists. But what are you thankful for in the context of your workplace?

Even if your job is not ideal, you can still find things to be thankful for at work.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that simple acts of gratitude can reduce stress and even improve your psychological and physical health*.

We can practice gratitude by connecting head and heart and focusing on the positive. Among the beneficial effects of this are a surge of dopamine and positive effects on blood pressure, blood sugar and EEG rhythms.

So what are you grateful for at work? Here’s a list to get you started! 

1. The problems you were hired to solve.

Most people don’t think of problems as things to be thankful for – but you were hired to solve problems! As an engineer, you may be solving very technical problems or as a cashier you may be solving the problem of how customers can make a purchase.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed at our jobs because of the workload – especially if there are other stressors affecting us outside of our jobs.

It helps to put things in perspective, listen to our heart, and remember that the reason why any company hires someone is to help meet those challenges and solve problems. 

Without problems, there are no jobs. A good reason to be grateful. 

2. Your co-workers!

Do you have co-workers who have your back at work? Do you have co-workers who you rely on to get projects done? Is there someone at work who will listen to you rant when you just need to vent. Then that’s something to be thankful for!

Most of us have jobs where we work as part of a team. Even if the task you do is mainly solo, chances are somewhere along the line, there is another person in the company who helps move things along. Since most of us spend more of our waking hours with co-workers than we do with family, it is important to cultivate good relationships with our colleagues.
Having good relationships at work can help improve morale, reduce stress and even lead to increased productivity for the company.

Human beings are social creatures and we need other human beings to thrive.

3. ​Your unique skills

​You bring something special to your workplace. Over the years, you have developed a set of skills that is unique to you. These skills are not merely your “hard skills” such as computer programming, driving a forklift or baking the perfect soufflé etc. – but they also include “soft skills” that you were not necessarily hired for but have become an asset to your company.

For example, do you have a knack for seeing a problem from a different angle and coming up with creative solutions? Are you the peacekeeper when there is a dispute between co-workers? Are you the one who knows how to make everyone laugh? Without your unique skills, your workplace wouldn’t be the same!

Spend some time thinking about your unique skills and how you can use them to make the company that you work for a better place.

Even if you don’t fully realize what your unique skills are yet – you do have them. And you can be thankful for them.

4. Your competition!

Competition has always existed in the workplace. You may be part of a team that is always trying to stay one step ahead of another business in the same industry. Or there may even be competition from co-workers within your own company.

Sometimes having competition can feel stressful.

But it can also challenge you to try new things and keep improving yourself.

And who knows, someday that co-worker that you’re competing with might just become a great ally and friend.

5. Yourself.

No matter how many different jobs you have on your career path, there is always going to be one constant – and that is you.

You have the ability to determine your own vision and set your course.

You can take control of your career and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals. You might want to engage the help of a mentor or career coach, but ultimately the decision and the power is yours.

Learn to recognize this within yourself and be thankful.

Is social media helping or hurting your career?
Sep 18

Is Your Social Media Presence Helping or Hurting Your Career?

By Kristen Duever | Land the Right Job


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Imagine. You’ve just returned from a wild weekend in Vegas with your best friends and you can’t wait to facebrag with some mildly questionable photos from your trip.

But you’re also in the process of applying for a new job. Could these photos possibly come back to haunt you? Could they hurt your chances of landing that new position? 

Or maybe you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum. You don’t post anything because you don’t know who’s watching.

If you are in the process of a career transition, you are making sure that there is nothing that might dissuade an employer or recruiter from moving you on to the next step in the process.

But is it possible that the lack of an online presence might be just as damaging as photos of a drunken romp through Sin City?

The fact is – whether you believe it’s proper or not – more and more employers are using social media to screen potential candidates. According to the latest Harris poll*, 70% of employers now research job candidates through social media.

So don’t make the mistake of thinking that going “off grid” is the solution because in that same survey, nearly 60% of employers said that they would not hire a job candidate that had no digital footprint. Technologies such as smartphones and social media have made us more connected than ever – and that includes more connection between our personal and professional lives.

That means you have to find balance as you develop a positive online presence.

Here are some tips to do just that:

1. Lay the foundation for thoughtful posts

Increasingly, what you put on your social media pages is becoming nearly as important as what you put on your resume – only it’s often much more personal.

Having a good awareness of how you are presenting yourself is key.

By building the necessary skills to share your thoughts and feelings, you will be better able to develop posts that employers are drawn to – and less likely to make impulsive posts that may hurt your career development.

2. Social media do's and don'ts

Now that you understand the importance of having a positive and professional online persona, let’s examine some of the ways you can make your social media profiles more attractive to would-be employers.

Let’s start with your name and profile picture. These are aspects of your profile that are visible to everyone regardless of your privacy settings and should therefore be kept professional. If for example, your Twitter handle is something like @beersnobforever, you might want to consider changing it – unless of course the position that you are applying for is brew master in your city’s newest craft brewery.

Avoid making posts that will give recruiters a negative impression of you. This includes comments or photos with references to drunkenness, drugs or illegal activities, derogatory or racist comments as well as negative posts about a past or current employer.

3. Take your social media to the next level

If you really want to gain an edge over your competition in the job market, it’s important that you not only have a social media presence that doesn’t hurt you – but that you have a social media presence that actually helps you.

If you are looking for a career in the digital space, it is almost expected that you use your online presence to showcase your talent whether it’s through blogging, video production or some other skill.

More and more, however, people in other professions are also using their social media profiles as quasi-portfolios. Did you receive recognition at work? Proud of a new project that you just completed? Sharing it may just catch a recruiter’s eye!

4. Ask for help!

​Social media is one of those things that everyone does – but not everyone does well.

If you are trying to improve your social media presence in a way that will benefit your career path, then it makes sense to get some coaching.

Working with a career coach that can help you showcase your strengths and sincerity will help to make sure that you approach social media with balance and positivity. Do this, and recruiters will notice!

Should I go back to my former employer?
Aug 28

Should I Go Back To My Former Employer?

By Kristen Duever | Find A Career That Fits


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Should you return to your former employer?
Here are four things to consider before making a move.

Ahhh, the good ol’ days!

Has your career reached a point where you are daydreaming about going back to a previous employer?

Perhaps you’re wondering whether that is really a good idea – or if it’s even possible.

Maybe your current employer isn’t quite the perfect fit you thought they would be. Or maybe you just miss the day to day challenges of your old job. Maybe you were simply happier with the people at your last place of employment.

Whatever the reason is for your desire to go back, there are some things you will need to consider carefully if you are thinking about returning to a former employer.

Here are four things to consider:

1. First things first - is it even possible to go back?

Believe it or not, some employers don’t like to re-hire former employees.

If you have an old employee handbook lying around, you might want to check it to see if it mentions anything about that.

Of course, you’ll also need to consider the circumstances under which you left as well. Were you still on good terms with your manager? Was there an atmosphere of “come back anytime” on your last day? If that’s the case, the door may be open for your return.

2. Remember why you left.

If you are going through a stressful period with your current employer, it can be easy to look back on your former employment with rose coloured glasses.

But the truth is that no job is perfect 100% of the time.

What were the reasons that you left? Were you starting to feel unfulfilled? Had you stopped growing because the job was no longer challenging enough?

If these problems were there before, they will most likely be there again and your return may not be sustainable in the long run.

On the other hand, if you left because you thought another opportunity would be more fulfilling – and you were wrong – you might be able to return with a new appreciation for the job.

3. Consider why you want to leave your current employer?

Before you make any decisions that will affect your long term career path, it is important to get to the root of why you are considering the change.

If you find you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, it’s helpful to build skills that help you connect your head and your heart.

Once you’re feeling more balanced it will be clearer as to what you have to offer your employer and why you are choosing one employer over the other. Personal growth is essential if you want to advance but it is not always comfortable.

Ask yourself whether you are moving to a position where you can grow or running away from one. There are many valid reasons why you might choose to return to your old job but trying to escape from a temporary uncomfortable situation that will benefit you in the long run should not be one of them.

This will likely be a big decision for you, and it can be helpful to get some perspective from a qualified career coach.

4. Do your research!

Finally, if you have made the decision that you would prefer to go back to your old job you should do some research to determine what you will be going back to – especially if you have been away for a while.

For example, is your old manager still there? Is the company still under the same ownership? Have they expanded or reduced the products or services that they offer? All of these factors can have a big influence on the working atmosphere.

The possibility that your old job won’t be “the same” needs to be considered.

While much of this information may be easily discoverable with a visit to the company website or a quick call to reception, your best source is often a former colleague that you have kept in touch with.

Ask them how things are going with company. And if you really trust them, you might confide that you are considering coming back and then gauge their reaction.

The answer to the question “should you return to a former employer” isn’t a simple yes or no.

It requires some soul searching to uncover the real reasons you are considering the move and it requires you to be honest with yourself about whether returning to your former employer will actually address those reasons.

Only after you have done this will you be able to make a reliable judgement about whether you should make the move.

Aug 14

Six Smart Strategies for Making the Best First Impression at Work

By Kristen Duever | Be Happy At Work


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Whether you're starting out or an experienced professional, here are six smart strategies for making the best, first impression at work!

Being the new kid on the block at work can be an exciting time.

You’ve passed the interview stage and beat out the other applicants. You’ve proven your worth – at least enough to get the job.

But it can also be a stressful time.  There's a lot of change and some of it can be hard to figure out when everything is so new.

If you’re starting out, you might be worried about your inexperience and wondering how you can make the best impression.

Or, you might be an experienced professional and you’re looking for the best path to advancement in your career. How do you make a good first impression and set yourself up for success during these all important first few weeks on the job?

These feelings are all normal and they can even help you excel because it means you are well-aware that you are still under scrutiny. Having an acute awareness of this will help you to take care in how you present yourself.

Take this opportunity to cultivate ideas that will help you make a good impression. Think about your own strengths and what you have to offer the company.

How can you best present those strengths to your new manager? As you look within, you will undoubtedly come up with some ideas of your own but the list below will help you get a good start.

Here are six smart strategies to help you get started:

1. Learn how your manager likes to communicate.

We all have our preferred methods of communication – and your boss does too.

Some bosses prefer always talking face to face, while others like text or email. Some bosses prefer you to pick up the phone and dial their extension even if their office is only ten feet away!

Try to learn and then use your boss’s preferred method of communication in the majority of your dealings with them.  You can find out their preferred method of communication by observing them or asking them directly. You can also ask a co-worker.

2. Over-communicate.

When you are new, it’s better to provide too much communication than too little.

You might ask your boss if they would like daily or weekly reports.

If you have several items you need to discuss, keep a list and then ask your boss when she has time to go through them all at once.  Just remember to keep a professional demeanour and not to be overly needy.

Keeping your manager apprised of your progress on projects and seeking advice when required will demonstrate that you are learning your new duties and are invested in the company’s success.

3. Be a problem solver not a problem finder.

Every job has its challenges and before long you will run into your first problem.  As a new hire, you may not have a sense of how much authority you have to make decisions. Until you know, it is better to ask.

When you go to your boss with a problem, try to bring her a solution as well.  “This is what I’ve run into and here’s I how I would like to deal with it?”

If the problem is because of a mistake that you made, own up to it. And propose a solution.  Even if your boss prefers a different solution, using this approach will show that you have initiative. It will show that you have the interests of the company at heart.

4. Jump in with both feet!

Show your commitment to the company by volunteering for assignments or by asking co-workers if you can help with something.

Look for ways that you can get involved in the company culture. Maybe join a social committee or help organize the company blood drive.  Just make sure that you are not taking on more than you can handle.

Remember, your core job duties must come first!

5. Stay out of office politics!

One of the quickest ways to get stressed at work is to get embroiled in office politics. Undoubtedly your new company will have its share. Try to be friendly and professional with everyone.

Avoid water-cooler gossip.This will help you to have a good reputation as a team player.

6. Be yourself!

Finally, making a good impression at work should never mean being someone you’re not. You have to be yourself.

As Oscar Wilde once quipped, “everyone else is taken”.

If you are trying to show off, it will be obvious – and annoying.

When working out ways to make a good impression remember to connect your head and heart.

This means taking time to look within and generate more positivity.

Because when you feel better, you will do better.

When you are less stressed and more resilient, you will have more to offer your employer and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

Connecting head and heart is more than mere positive thinking. It is about using proven strategies and making lasting change from the inside out.

A qualified coach can help you learn to do this.

Employ the strategies above while staying true to yourself.

Your boss and co-workers will appreciate you all the more for it.

4 Secrets to Getting Along With Your Boss
Jul 28

4 Secrets To Getting Along With Your Boss

By Kristen Duever | Beat Work Related Stress Now


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Learn the 4 Secrets to Getting Along With Any Boss!

What to do when your manager's personality conflicts with yours?

Getting along with your manager is one of the keys to job satisfaction, career advancement and general feelings of well-being. But what if your boss has a completely different personality and you just don’t click?

There may be more to it.

Maybe you feel frustrated because it seems like your boss is always undermining your decisions. It feels like nothing you do is good enough.

When Sunday evening rolls around, do you get a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach when you think about going back to work?

Sometimes minor annoyances can fester and lead to major issues that can derail your career. It’s important to take control, but what do you do?
This is your manager we’re talking about – one wrong move and you could be fired.

The good news is, you can stop the cycle and start getting along with your boss.

Now just to be clear, there are some bosses who are truly abusive – and we are not talking about them here. Rather, we are talking about those bosses that micromanage or who don’t give you the attention you need. Or the bosses whose communication styles differ from yours.

Remember that your boss is human too. They are likely dealing with stressors of their own and there are things you can do to improve the situation for both of you!

Four secrets to having a better relationship with your boss:

1. Recognize how your manager’s personality differs from yours.

If you find yourself regularly annoyed with your boss, you can quickly develop feelings of stress.

The first step to dealing with this stress is to recognize its source. Ask yourself why you are not getting along with your boss? It may help to look around the organization and see which employees your manager does get along with.

Chances are, they get along with employees who are more similar to them. How do the interactions of that employee differ from yours?  Observe and learn from others.  There's often good reasons for what you see working around you.

2. Learn to communicate in your manager’s personality style.

Take some time to consider your own personality style and how you approach problems. Then try to think objectively about how your style differs from that of your manager.

Sitting down with a qualified coach can help you gain deeper understanding.

Learn to be flexible in how you communicate. For example, if your boss is the analytical type, use words like principles, analysis and rationale. If your boss is more emotional in nature, use words such as harmony, sensitivity and intensity.

Adapting your communication style to your manager doesn’t mean changing who are – it simply means devising a strategy for effective communication or being sensitive to the preferences of your manager.

3. Recognize your boss’s management style – and adapt.

Some managers like to have a high degree of control. They want to know every detail of what is happening in a particular project. If you like to be independent, this can leave you feeling like your boss doesn’t trust you. Deal with this situation by providing them with regular updates and it will help to ward off micromanaging.

On the other hand, if you are more of a collaborative worker and your boss has a hands-off approach, you may feel like your manager isn’t interested or that your work doesn’t matter. If this is the case, make a list of the items you’d like to get feedback on and schedule a meeting with your manager rather than interrupting when they might be in the middle of something else.

Adapting to your manager’s style will help make life at work easier for both of you. In other words, “manage up”. Try to understand your manager and then help them be successful. This will help you to be successful too.

4. Remember that it’s not forever!

Finally remember that in today’s everchanging workplace, the manager you have today may not be the manager you have next year or even next week.

So before you walk away from what is really a good job or allow yourself to become overwhelmed, take a step back and try to get to the heart of the issue.

If you do this, chances are you will be able to get along with any manager – even if their personality differs from yours.

Using any of these strategies will require you to look within. Having a difficult manager is rarely fun, but it is in difficult situations that we have the opportunity to learn and grow. Begin to see the challenge as a gift and it may open up new doors for you in your career.

Better yet, sit down with a qualified career coach who can help you through these steps in an objective and caring way and delve even deeper into the heart of the issue.

Who knows? Someday you might just see your relationship with your current manager as one of the most important in your career!